ISLAMABAD - In a major development, a high-level meeting on Thursday decided to ensure the provision of gas supply to the industries to protect the interest of employees working in the industrial sector.

Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar has chaired high-level meeting to review the overall power and gas situation in the country in the backdrop of shortage of gas in the country. Federal Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Mohammad Asif and Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi also attended the meeting.

“During the meeting it was decided that it should be ensured that natural gas is provided to the industry so that it remains unaffected, as it would protect the interest of employees working in the industrial sector”, said an official statement of Finance Ministry. It further stated that Ministry of Finance was also directed to redouble its efforts to explore additional gas resources and accelerate the process so that the impact of gas shortage could be minimised.

The meeting also decided that the Ministry of Finance, Petroleum and Water and Power should continue to maintain close coordination and monitor the situation.

It is worth mentioning here that Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) on December 9 has suspended natural gas supply to all industrial units, captive power plants and CNG stations mainly due to increasing gas shortfall in the cold weather. The government’s decision of suspending gas supply to industries was severely criticised by the trade bodies of the country and termed it against the interest of the workers. Industrialists’ bodies have strongly resented the gas supply cut for indefinite period and called for an immediate restoration, as the industry is the only hope for the revival of national economy.

“Gas suspension will cause a loss of Rs1 billion per day besides rendering thousands of daily wagers jobless”, said a Faisalabad bases industrialist while talking to The Nation. He further said that current government’s decision of providing gas to industries would help in meeting the exports target well on time. He expressed fear that the industrial sector would destabilise and unemployment would increase if government did not provide gas to the industries.